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Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 466–473 | Cite as

Sensation Seeking Predicting Growth in Adolescent Problem Behaviors

  • Gayle R. Byck
  • Gregory Swann
  • Benjamin Schalet
  • John Bolland
  • Brian Mustanski
Original Article

Abstract

There is limited literature on the relationship between sensation seeking and adolescent risk behaviors, particularly among African Americans. We tested the association between psychometrically-derived subscales of the Zuckerman Sensation Seeking Scale and the intercepts and slopes of individual growth curves of conduct problems, sexual risk taking, and substance use from ages 13 to 18 years by sex. Boys and girls had different associations between sensation seeking and baseline levels and growth of risk behaviors. The Pleasure Seeking scale was associated with baseline levels of conduct problems in boys and girls, baseline substance use in boys, and growth in sexual risk taking and substance use by girls. Girls had the same pattern of associations with the Danger/Novelty scale as the Pleasure Seeking scale. Knowledge about the relationships between adolescent risk taking and sensation seeking can help in the targeted design of prevention and intervention programs for the understudied population of very low-income, African American adolescents.

Keywords

Sensation seeking Conduct problems Sexual risk taking Substance use Adolescents African Americans 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This project was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (RO1DA025039). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funders.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gayle R. Byck
    • 1
  • Gregory Swann
    • 1
  • Benjamin Schalet
    • 1
  • John Bolland
    • 2
  • Brian Mustanski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Social Sciences, Feinberg School of MedicineNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.College of Human Environmental SciencesUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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